Dr. Thom Huppertz will take up the special chair in Dairy Science & Technology at Wageningen University & Research, effective 1 May 2019. The chair is a joint initiative between Wageningen University & Research and the Dutch Dairy Association (NZO). Thom Huppertz will be succeeding Prof. Tiny van Boekel, who has held the chair on an interim basis since September 2017. The chair is part of the Food Quality & Design chair group led by Prof. Vincenzo Fogliano.
The special chair in Dairy Science & Technology (0.5 FTE) is a way for Wageningen University & Research to link dairy technology to the entire dairy supply chain and the challenges with regards to sustainability. Milk and dairy products play a crucial role in human diets all over the world. As the global population grows, so too is demand for milk and dairy, particularly in Asia and Africa. A key challenge over the next few decades will be how to provide billions of people around the world with healthy dairy products in a sustainable way.
Thom Huppertz was born in Venray, Limburg in 1975 and works part-time as a principal scientist in food structuring at FrieslandCampina. He is also an adjunct professor of Dairy Science at Victoria University in Melbourne, Australia. Huppertz also serves as Editor in Chief of the International Dairy Journal. He previously spent 10 years with NIZO as principal scientist in dairy technology. From 2013 to 2017, Huppertz was an adjunct professor in Dairy Science and Technology at South Dakota State University in the US.
Linking sustainability and health
The chair in Dairy Science & Technology focuses on linking issues around sustainable dairy production with knowledge of how dairy products can contribute to health and nutrition. The multi-disciplinary research led by Huppertz will pose important questions such as:
- How can the nutritional value and the contribution of dairy to nutrition and health be integrated into how we assess the environmental impact of diets?
- How do changes in milk composition influence the physico-chemical characteristics of milk, and in turn its processing into dairy products and their nutritional value?
- How can dairy processing be improved to make dairy products that provide maximum nutritional value through optimised digestive characteristics and nutrient uptake?
Thom Huppertz will also focus on the further development of teaching on the subject of dairy. There are three main programmes for students specialising in Dairy Science & Technology at Wageningen University: Dairy Chemistry and Physics, Dairy Science & Technology, and Milk in the Dairy Chain.
Thom Huppertz will also represent Wageningen University in its participation in the Dairy Campus in Leeuwarden. He will also be responsible for coordinating One Wageningen Dairy.